A few weeks ago, Scott and I had a little argument. Actually, it wasn’t even an argument. It went something like this…
I was on the phone with a client in my living room (my first mistake- ha!) and he interrupted my conversation to tell me not to book anything on the date we were discussing. I hand-motioned for him to be quiet and he got louder… (turns out he had a surprise 30th birthday party planned for me that day- but I thought we were just going out for a few hours that afternoon) Anyhow, then my phone call got cut off and a kid walked in and started asking for food over and over again while I basically told Scott off for interrupting a business call like one of the kids. (Harsh and uncalled for, I know…) My phone rang again and I picked it up while he got his stuff ready and had to leave for work. I booked the session for another day, hung up the phone, and turned to see Ella sitting there beside me. She had been there the entire time. She smiled sweetly and asked to use my phone to play Temple Run. I took a moment and realized that Scott had left for work. I felt horrible for the way I had reacted and told Ella that I had to call Dad first to apologize for being mean to him. She very matter-of-factly looked at me and said, “But he was rude to you when you were on the phone first.” I explained to her that it didn’t matter if he was rude first, or if he was rude at all- but that it was wrong of me to talk to him like that and I owed him an apology. She patiently sat beside me while I called him and apologized (he was understanding and forgiving- as usual) and when I hung up she said, “Can I play on your phone now that you said sorry to Dad?”
We have a great marriage. One of the best. (I think!) But we aren’t perfect. We don’t always agree. We argue from time to time. Actually, we are both really good at it. Arguing that is… We get loud every once in a while – but we know how to forgive. I’ve heard people say that you shouldn’t argue in front of your kids, and I wonder how realistic that is.
I’ve realized how important it is for them to see grace. To see that mom and dad aren’t perfect, (like they didn’t already know that!) that we humble ourselves to apologize when we’re wrong, and that we show one another grace. One of their favourite “remember the time!” stories is when Scott and I had gotten into an argument about something, and he left the house and came back with flowers and a movie. “And we all had a fun night after that!”
They saw his works.
They were too young to comprehend why we were fighting, the need to apologize, or the concept of grace at the time – but they saw, and remember, his works. It was such a small event. Half an hour on a Friday night, that they still remember and smile about 6 years later. We don’t hold grudges. We don’t get bitter. We may be a little blunt sometimes. Ok… most of the time… but I wonder if the presence of grace isn’t what makes our marriage so strong.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard my kids argue or fight. (Today! Ha…) But seriously, I also can’t count the number of times I’ve sat back and watched one go up to another and say, “I’m really sorry. I shouldn’t have…”
Met with a, “That’s OK. I shouldn’t have… either.”
Is that a natural response? It isn’t for me! I hate apologizing. Especially when I think I’m right! I’ve been known to say, “I’m sorry that YOU felt I was wrong…” To which Scott usually laughs and then I give in with a real apology. I don’t know if it comes naturally to anyone, but I do know that once you’ve experienced God’s grace in your own life- you have no right not to show it to others.
We were driving to church one day when the triplets were babies and I was really mad at someone. Scott asked me if I was going to do something for them (I can’t even remember what it was or why I was mad) and my response was, “No. She doesn’t deserve for me to give her anything.” He looked at me while we were at a stop light and said, “Wow. Good thing God doesn’t treat you like that.” I had no response. I had no excuse. I’ve never forgotten it.
What if God only extended as much grace to me as I was willing to show to others?
Having Ella ask me why I was apologizing when someone else had wronged me, gave me a chance to teach her a lesson. But I know that my example, my works, is what she’ll follow and what she’ll remember. So I’m not against our kids knowing that we have disagreements or that we occasionally argue. Would it be better if we never did? Sure. But in the mean time, hopefully they learn that when we fail (which we will), and when we’re willing to humble ourselves and make things right, God (and Mom and Dad) are always there waiting to show us grace.
As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
-1 Peter 4:10
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
- Matthew 5:16